Yes it has been a while, and I didn't really give you guys much time to do this, and I apologize. The season is sneaking up on us quickly, and I must admit I'm guilty of not paying attention to it. I can't tell you much about this team right now. You guys probably know more than I do, but that isn't going to stop us from having fun predicting these games.
Another reason for not blogging sooner? I didn't pick up this year's copy of NCAA Football. I heard the game stuck through multiple reviews, so I decided not to bother. Last year I gave you multiple predictions from simulations, but none of that this year. If you're curiosity is peaked and you're wanting to know what the game thinks about 2012, there are a couple good places to look.
CBSSports.com did a simulation back in July. Tom Fornelli breaks it down, and bleacherreport.com columnist Adam Kramer also took time to play out 2012. I would tell you what their simulations came up with for a national champion, but I won't spoil it for you if you plan on looking.
As for us, we will be predicting games once again. It will work the same as it has the last couple of seasons. All you got to do is predict what will happen with the upcoming Illini game by telling us what you think the score will be on Saturday. Also feel free to tell us why you think Illinois will win or loss that game. It's always fun to see what you have to say. After each week I will keep track of your record and your spread differencial. Predicting correct scores will be a tie-breaker.
Also, I ask you once again to keep it clean. Everyone who has participated in the past has done a great job of this. This doesn't mean you can't have a negative opinion, but there isn't any reason to personally attack any player, coach, or illinihq member. As we found out last year, there are a lot of places out there where people aren't afraid to say what's on their mind, even if they really don't think before they do it. I don't want this to be one of those places.
Alright, let's get things started! Illinois opens up their season in a couple of days against Western Michigan. Here's what I think.
ILLINOIS 21 WESTERN MICHIGAN 14
The defense I feel is set up to have a fine season, but like the end of last year, we have to wonder if the offense can get it done. Nathan Scheelhaase had a rough time the final half of 2011, and as strange as it sounds, I think he will benefit by not having A.J. Jenkins to throw to. Scheelhaase targeted him way too many times last year, and defenses were able to read it like a book. In a Tim Beckman spread offense, Scheelhaase should have plenty of receivers and plenty of field to work with. Also, his legs are something a defense has to worry about.
The Illini defense has to be excited that Jordan White is now a New York Jet. The man caught 140 passes last year for almost 2000 receiving yards. Now he's going to try and catch off the mark passes by either Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow (couldn't resist). However, Alex Carder is still under center for the Broncos. He's had back-to-back 30 passing TD seasons, almost throw for 4,000 yards last year, and is one the Walter Camp POTY, Davey O'Brien, Unitas Golden Arm, and Manning watch lists. He has the ability to give this defense fits, so it will be important to send a strong messege early with lots of pressure up front.
In the end, I see this game closer than the 10.5 point spread that Illinois is favored by. Illinois wins this game, but the margin of victory is determined by how well the offense plays.
How do you think things kick off in the Tim Beckman era? Do the Illini start the season off right, or do the Broncos, along with the remnants of Hurricane Isaac give us fits? Let me know with your thoughts and predictions below. Looking forward to a great season of football! Hope you take time to join in this year. Talk to you after Saturday.